n. A feeling or attitude that occurs automatically or habitually and conflicts with one's explicit beliefs.
Aliefs motivate us to take or withhold action. You might enjoy sweets, but would you eat a chocolate bar shaped like feces? Dr. Rozin and his colleagues showed that college students would not, though they knew it would not harm them. Our conscious beliefs tell us to shape up, use our wits and act rationally. But our subconscious aliefs set off deeply ingrained reactions that protect us from disease. The alief often wins.
Perhaps you have heard of the mystery of the haunted rationalist — where the rationalist fears ghosts even though he believes that they don't exist. Sometimes people have aliefs that cause them to act in ways inconsistent with their explicit beliefs.
The activation of these response patterns constitutes the rendering occurrent of what I hereby dub a belief-discordant alief. The alief has representational-affective-behavioral content that includes, in the case of the Skywalk, the visual appearance as of a cliff, the feeling of fear and the motor routine of retreat.
In the remainder of the article, I argue for the importance of recognizing the existence of alief — so-called because alief is associative, action-generating, affect-laden, arational, automatic, agnostic with respect to its content, shared with animals, and developmentally and conceptually antecedent to other cognitive attitudes.